Coastal Cooling installed a new air conditioner incorrectly, requiring costly repairs and affecting the the occupant's health.
Coastal Cooling installed a new Carrier A/C system in April of 2012 . It has a thermostat which supposedly controls the humidity as well.
In June of 2014, we we felt the humidity was excessively high in the unit. They sent out a technician who measured the humidity at 56% and told us that was normal and reported that "A/C is cooling @ this time". He set the humidistat to 50%. We still felt that there was too much humidity in the condo.
When we came to Destin again on Oct 2, 2014, the humidity read 61%. We immediately noted a strong musty odor and the entire condo was full of mold and/or mildew. It was on the walls, the ceiling, the furniture, shoes and, most concerning, in all the ductwork. Again we called them Their technician reported October 2nd: "..found mildew all over vents, tables, but system is cooling great at this time"
We had to rent two hotel rooms for the night (we were traveling with company) because the condo was not safe to stay in. The next day we rented a different condo (unit 202) in the same building for a period of one week. We spent that week and the next week cleaning our unit and hiring experts to help us determine the cause. One mold removal contractor quoted us $22,000 to remediate the problem, including removing all the fiberglass ductwork and replacing it with metal ducts, as cleaning all the carpets, furniture, walls, ceilings e.g., to remove the mold.
We hired a different HVAC to check our system, but they saw no problem with it. They briefly checked the whole condo for water leaks but found none. They also installed a RGF Guardian REME UV light air purification system in the air handler to kill the mold spores present in the air. They cleaned all the ductwork and treated it for mold. We hired another firm to clean the furniture & carpets with HEPA vacuums. We purchased a de-humidifier on October 2 and borrowed another. For the next few days we extracted gallons of water. We bought a Taylor thermostat/humidistat in order to check the humidity which continued to stay high.
There had to be a reason for the high humidity and to make absolutely sure it wasn't due to a water leak, we hired a specialist to thoroughly look for water leaks. They could not find any. This could only mean that the AC unit was not doing its job.
When I spoke with *** at Coastal Cooling on October 7, explaining that the humidity was still 61%,he said that 60% RH is pretty normal in this area and that we should set the humidistat to 60%. I found that odd, because the EPA recommends keeping indoor humidity between 30 and 60 percent to prevent mold. 60% is therefore on the very high end of that range and the air conditioner was unable to keep it below 61%.
Since we still didn't know where all the moisture came from, but suspected the air conditioner was at fault, we hired yet another HVAC contractor to see why the air conditioner was not removing the moisture from the air. They measured everything very professionally and determined that the Carrier unit had been incorrectly charged. As a result the AC unit was cooling all right but was not removing the humidity adequately. I quote from their report:
"Upon inspection of the Carrier variable speed air handler, it was noted ..system was running a 0.8 sub-cool and calls for a 9 degree sub-cool. The refrigerant charge was adjusted to a 9 degree sub-cool and within minutes the difference in air quality was evident. Prior to our departure and approximately 30 minutes after adjusting the charge and fan speed, RH in the unit was 49% with a supply air temperature of 57F" Even though Coastal Cooling technicians twice missed the real cause, it was now clear that our problem originated with the installer in 2012. For several years the humidity was too high in the condo, saturating everything in there with moisture. This is why the mold problem developed.we have so far spent close to $6,000 to battle this condition.I wrote to Coastal Cooling on Dec. 8, 2014, but have no reply yet.
$6,000.00 in damages and out-of-pocket expenses
We installed the system over 1.5 years ago in April of 2012, this system had a one year labor warranty and a ten year on manufacture parts. By reading the complaint there have been other companies working on this system and according to the last company the level of refrigerant was over charged, this could have been done by could have been filled by another company. I have attached the invoice for a service call in June of 2014 and the readings on the bottom left tell me that the system was running correctly when we left. There also was another company tell him the system was running correctly, my invoice indicates the we did not add any refrigerant and the tech that worked on this has over 25 years of experience and runs during peak times 4 to 7 calls per day with many satisfied customers. The discussion I had with Mr. ****** I was going off of invoice #6098 that was done in June. I have trust in my technicians because I am normally in the office running the business and I am not in the field. The indoor unit is one of Carriers top of the line air handlers and runs at different speeds for humidity control as well as other features. I give the one year labor warranty because if something goes wrong it is normally in the first 90 days, so CCH cannot offer extended labor on the hundreds of systems we have installed.
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
I do not accept the company's response because Coastal Cooling was the company which origionally installed the new unit and they did it wrong. We used Coastal for all subsequent service calls and again called them when this mold problem was discovered on Oct 2nd, 2014. At that time they had a perfect opportunity to diagnose and correct their mistake, but again claimed the unit was running correctly when obviously it wasn't. We then had no other choice but to employ another company to solve the problem. I believe Coastal caused the problem and is not standing behind their work.
I understand that Coastal only gave a 1-year warranty and therefore has no legal obligation to make good on their mistake. However, I would think that any compnay who wants to have a high BBB rating would make every effort to satisfy a customer who has been harmed because of Coastal's inept or poorly trained technicians. When I first wrote to Coastal about this problem I received no answer at all. They did not even bother to communicate with me. That is why I chose to contact the Better Business Bureau. According to the experts who discovered the cause of the problem, there is no doubt that the original installation was incorrectly performed. There is a huge difference between charging an A/C unit to 9 degrees (as recommended) versus 0.8 degrees as actually done. They were off by a factor of more than 10! I would prefer not to drag this dispute into court. Here is Coastal's chance to settle our differences in an amiable manner. Otherwise I can't see how the BBB can continue to recommend this supplier to other prospective buyers.